Back To School: Tips for supporting your child
Whether your child is just starting off as a school child or they’re going back to school, the transition can get tough if you don’t pay attention to some crucial parts of the phase.
As a father of 4, I’ve been through this myself time and time again.
As a parent, you already know your child. You know their needs, characteristics, tendencies, and difficulties. But you don’t always have the best solutions for everything, and this is natural. So, guidelines and tips from other experienced parents and professionals are always welcome.
Besides having a well-organized schedule there are other really important points you have to pay attention to, so the back to school transition runs as smooth as possible.
These are the points that focus on your child’s emotional well-being.
But, before we begin, I’d like to tell you a story my friend told me the other day…
“As a young child, when I was starting school, I didn’t know anyone in my class. It was a neighborhood school, and most of the kids knew someone. But until I started going to school, my mom and I didn’t really mingle much with the folks from the neighborhood because we were rather new there. So basically, I was the only “stranger” in the class. Everyone found someone to sit with (as the school had pair desks) and everyone else was fast enough to sit towards the front. The little, shy me, had to take the last desk in the back, all alone. I was very sensitive and shy. So that was a horrible experience for me. So a comforting talk to my mother was the most important need during that time.”
Why am I telling you all this?
No matter what type of character your child may have, he or she is bound to experience some uncomfortable moments on an emotional level. It’s crucial to not dismiss these situations. Because no matter how silly and insignificant they may seem to you, they mean more than you may suspect, to your child.
So keeping in mind the common basics of starting off or going back to school, we’re going to take a look at these important parts from an emotional level.
These can serve you as a guide to help the school transition run smoother and healthier for your child, for you and for the whole family.
The back to school basics
Getting organized is key. Healthy routines will help your child feel more stability and confidence.
Things to remember:
School supplies – Have you double checked that your child has everything they need for school? If you’re not sure, double check with a school supplies list.
Food – Is your child carrying a lunchbox or are they eating at the school? Whatever the case, think healthy snacks. An apple a day keeps the doctor away!
Routines – Do you have a set bedtime and morning routine? Add some extra care and organizational tricks into the routine.
- Spend a moment talking to your child about the experiences of the day before going to sleep, show your child you’re listening.
- In the morning, take the positive approach; encourage your child and give them some simple things to look forward to at school and during the day.
- Prepare as much as you can in the evening: Check the weather forecast, prepare the clothes, lunchbox and school bag.
Transport – How’s your child traveling to school? If you are able to, take your child to school yourself at least during the first transitional period.
Activities – Are you overly focused on discipline and school work? Of course, school time is crucial for your child’s learning and development process. But overdoing it can seriously backfire. In fact, research has shown that too much work, work, and work, gets overwhelming for the human brain. Making the end results of a much lower quality.
Take the Finnish School System for example. In Finland, young school kids don’t have homework, but they still get better results at the end of the year than in any other countries.
So rather than focusing on school work constantly, remember that balance is what you’ll always be aiming for.
There is no perfect solution and no perfect parent, but we can do our best to do what we can to support our children in a healthy way. Remember that young children especially, learn through play and exploration.
Creative movement and dance are fun activities which can help your child learn and acquire great new skills.
First days thoughts and feelings
One on One time
Stressing the fact that communication and one on one time are always important, especially during the back to school transition, because many changes and novelties are ahead. Talk to your child and ask them even about the basics; where do they leave their coats, where did he/she sit today, is there anything particular that happened today.
This transition period is also a great opportunity to teach your child to talk about and express their emotions.
It’s easy to get caught up in the busy life, especially if you’re working full time and taking care of your kids. This often causes parents to neglect precious family moments that are crucial for all family members, especially for children. So keep in mind that you and your child need to have some set moments of relaxation and one on one time.
It is important to communicate with your child so they are assured that you will always be there for them. In difficult situations and even in cases of bullying, a child must know that they can rely on someone to help them.
Friendships make the world go around
Playdates are a great way to help your child build friendships at school. But they’re also good for parents because you also get to make new friends.
If you don’t like making new friends or you don’t find that child’s parent an interesting friend, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t help your child nurture that friendship.
Ask your child about their friends; do they have a favorite? Reach out to the parents of the friend, start off the communication with them. And set a playdate, a few hours at the park maybe or a trip to the zoo even.
Homework and challenges
Helping your child with homework shouldn’t be taken as a “must do task”. It’s better to take a more relaxed and fun approach. Talk to your child about homework. Is there something that they are finding difficult and challenging?
But, don’t always give them direct solutions. In many cases, it’s better to help the child find a solution themselves. That way you’ll be helping them build self-confidence.
Nurture creativity rather than strict discipline
While discipline is extremely important, it’s also crucial to not overdo it. Focusing on discipline only, can really overwhelm a child and suffocate their creativity.
Many parents still believe in this style of parenting, but studies have shown and proven time and time again that over disciplined children often develop tendencies such as stress, anxiety, perfectionism, rebellion and even psychological disorders.
So, instead of constantly putting an emphasis on discipline, look for balance. Find ways that allow your child to use their creativity.
Every child is different, but every child is also creative. Give them more options and help them find an activity they like most.
Creativity is crucial for the healthy mental development of a child. Consider the benefits of dance and creative movement for children, it’s definitely something to think about.
Dance and Creative Movement are activities which help children develop creativity in many different aspects. Check out Dance for youth classes at BMDS.